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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 January 2006, 10:16 GMT
ITV boss Pickard leaves network
Nigel Pickard
Pickard had a break from ITV to work at the BBC
ITV's director of programmes, Nigel Pickard, is leaving to join an independent production company.

The executive rejoined ITV two years ago following a stint at the BBC as controller of children's programmes.

During his time with ITV he helped sign big-money deals with Simon Cowell and Michael Parkinson.

He is leaving to join RDF Media, which produces Wife Swap and Faking It, where he will be director of family and children's programming.

"His arrival marks a continuation of our strategy to broaden the range of programmes we make and the broadcasters to whom we sell," said RDF chief executive David Frank.

During his previous time with ITV Pickard was responsible for commissioning Saturday morning show SM:tv, which created stars out of presenters Ant and Dec.

'Difficult posts'

Under his direction, ITV scored big ratings hits with The X Factor, Doc Martin, Life Begins, William and Mary and Hell's Kitchen.

ITV chief executive Charles Allen said: "Nigel has done a tremendous job in one of the most difficult posts in British television.

"Under his leadership ITV1 has held its own in a fiercely competitive environment, ITV2 has become the biggest digital channel in the country and ITV3 and ITV4 both launched with record-breaking audiences. We wish him all the very best with his next venture."

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